18
October , 2017
Wednesday

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He says take-over of the Center is a ‘conspiracy’ 

 

By Chinta Strausberg

 

During a “State of the Harold Washington Cultural Center Town Hall Meeting,” Minister Louis Farrakhan said an attempt by the City Colleges of Chicago to seize control of the Harold Washington Cultural Center is a “conspiracy” and likened the death of this Center to that of the late mayor.

Farrakhan said the move to takeover the Center is an alleged plan to “kill the legacy“ of former Alderman Dorothy Tillman (3rd) and the late Mayor Harold Washington followed by “false” media reports he said are designed to destroy her support. Tillman, he said, and the state of her fight to save this institution “is a sign of a crucifixion.”

Farrakhan, who paid off Tillman’s former lawyer who withdrew from the case, warned people “don’t let anyone take this building… If she loses, we lose” and warned for those who turn against her “you’ve taken fire into your bosom.” He assigned Berve Power Muhammad, a noted attorney, to take over Tillman’s case.

He was talking about the City’s giving the green light for the City Colleges of Chicago to take over the Center and the City Council voted to spend $1.8 million for a special taxing district fund. Tillman and her daughter, Jimalita Tillman, the executive director, have been accused of allegedly misappropriating the funds—a charge both deny and the records unearthed by attorney Muhammad have proved to the contrary. Tillman and her daughter are fighting foreclosure proceedings.

The lengthy town hall meeting included entertainment by youth like the Endure Dance Productions, an electrifying drill team and dancers, a history of 47th Street by George Daniels, presentation by Jimalita Tillman, executive director of the Center, a song by Inez Andrew, and others. The youth were trained at the Harold Washington Cultural Center and were used to illustrate the importance of the Center.

WVON’s Cliff Kelley, who was the Masters of Ceremonies, said the Harold Washington Cultural Center has allegedly been appraised at being more than $11 million “and all they’re talking about being behind (in payments) is $1.2 million; so they’re trying to rob this place and that is not going to happen….” Kelley introduced Tillman who in introduced Farrakhan. She described him as being “the freest man in the world” and one who “loves his people.”

“It’s not that many free people in this city, in this country, in this state, in this nation, in this world,” said Tillman. “They owe something to somebody or they’re scared. They’re scratching when they’re not itching, laughing when it’s not funny, on economic plantations, not free….” Tillman said Farrakhan “is the freest man on the planet.”

Tillman spoke of how she told many people “what these people were doing to me, to this center and to my family, how they lied and all the things they were doing. One reporter even got an award for lying, but we’re getting her, too. She’s going to be a part of that suit, too. She doesn’t know that….”

Tillman took the problem she was having with the City Colleges attempts to take over the Harold Washington Cultural Center to Farrakhan who assigned famed attorney Berve M. Power Muhammad to handle the case. He told Tillman this was deeper than a takeover. He said this fight “is about the (her) legacy.”

Before Farrakhan spoke, the audience was entertained by several groups of very talented youth including the Endure Dance Productions, a presentation of George Daniels who gave the history of 47th Street a music scene and a video presentation. The youth were trained at the Harold Washington Cultural Center.

Speaking before a standing-room only crowd at 4701 S. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Farrakhan, who said he has been offered tens of millions not to teach about Elijah Muhammad, said he can’t be bought and is sticking with Tillman on saving that institution Farrakhan said is vital to the youth and the community.

Saying he was honored to be there with Tillman, he told of how an old friend of his, the late attorney Ray Glover, once told him to stay in the eyes of the public, Farrakhan remembers what Elijah Muhammad once told him, “when a seed germinates in the earth, it sends a root down long before it sends a shoot up.” “When it’s rooted, somebody tried to pluck it up, but if it’s firmly rooted, you’ll have a difficult time pulling up something that is well rooted.”

Farrakhan said for seven-years he once went underground because of death threats and how when some reporters called him and asked what was he doing, he would tell them, “I’m pregnant.”  Farrakhan said he stayed underground until he was “firmly rooted.”

He credited Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., who in 1984 was a presidential candidate, for drawing him above ground and once again out in the public eye. Jackson had called on Farrakhan for political support and in an unprecedented move; the Nation of Islam leader backed Jackson for president.

“Elijah Muhammad didn’t make punks,” said Farrakhan. “He hated cowards. When the police attacked our mosque in New York, he asked what did you do… There is no easy road in building God’s Kingdom….” And, Farrakhan said he is ready for yet another fight to save the Center.

Farrakhan said the day Tillman told her what she was going through it was easy for him to give her money to pay off a lawyer who had withdrawn from her case. He thanked his members for their contributions, which enabled him to help Tillman’s lawyer who dropped out of the case.

Farrakhan was critical of some blacks who believed what they read in the media about Tillman and the Center.  He laid out the “enemies” plan “to…get the media to support the lies. So-called Negroes when they read the papers and see a black person being attacked they say, ‘Oh, my God, is that so. Well, I won’t go around there anymore.’ Now, that’s a Negro response,” Farrakhan said. He said Tillman is a “sign of crucifixion.”  He urged the public not to fall for that media strategy and said they should support Tillman’s efforts to save that Center.

“Of all the politicians we’ve elected, Dorothy Tillman is the only one who has left office and built an institution for our people,” he told a cheering crowd.

Defending Tillman in her fight to keep control of the Harold Washington Cultural Center, Farrakhan said, “This place has to remain under the guidance of Tobacco Road Inc.,” and said he hopes they win this case.

Farrakhan said he wants everyone to understand “the value of this place and what it means to those children, to the community and above all to the legacy of Dorothy Tillman and to the greatness of the man this institution was named.

“We never had quite a man like the man this institution is named for. He was a strong, intelligent black man…,” Farrakhan said. “The death of this institution is just like the death of Harold Washington. It’ll be a shock and it would say that we didn’t care enough….

Farrakhan criticized the media for false reports that Tillman and her daughter were allegedly misrepresenting the funds. “The gossip starts based on slander. That is the modus operandi of Satan. First we must destroy your support among the people by saying things about you that are not true that if you …but you have no platform like that. So we start echoing what the corporate media say….

“Always follow the money. See who benefits from a disaster. See who benefits from her (Tillman’s) fall. We got some black people who are like vouchers. They smell the blood of Dorothy Tillman and Tobacco Road and acreage around here that she got for this community and then the greedy mind says, ‘the hell with justice. If she loses, well gain,” said Farrakhan.

“If she loses, we lose and those who think that they will benefit if she loses, you’ve taken fire into your bosom.”

He, like Muhammad, feels “there is a conspiracy” to destroy the reputation of the Tillman’s and to reduce her support. He believes the judge in this case will be fair because “the evidence is so compelling, over-whelming.  If this community rose with one voice, you cannot let anything happen to the Harold Washington Cultural Center.

“If we did that, we would ensure victory in the courts, victory in the streets, clearing her name and holding honor to her legacy and then retiring the debt,” said Farrakhan.

“Can you imagine what kind of day that would be when we can stand here burn the mortgage that this place is free, totally clear and now we’re coming with our babies to the dance class…coming with our families and babies to cultural events here.

“This is our building. Take ownership. Let no one take from us what rightfully belongs to us,” bellowed Farrakhan.

“God is watching how we treat those who fight for us, and if we do to her and to others what we did to Mr. Garvey, to Noble Drew Ali, to Malcolm X, to Muhammad Ali, to Elijah Muhammad. When the enemy turned down on them, we turned down, too.  Don’t do that because God will chastise you today for weakness, cowardice and for betraying those who fight for you,” Farrakhan said.

City Colleges spokesperson Katheryn Hayes would not give a comment to the media.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host.

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